Media Urged to Ensure Fair, Balanced and Objective Coverage of Electoral Process

Sharon Chigeza


MUTARE-Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has urged the
media to ensure fair, balanced and objective coverage of all political parties and contestants in the
forthcoming elections in light of the improved media environment that has opened up space and
promoted accessibility.
In a speech read on her behalf by her chief director Jonathan Gandari, at the Zimbabwe Media
Commission National Media Indaba held in Mutare recently, Minister Mutsvangwa said the media was
expected to provide adequate information concerning the election process to enable the electorate to
make informed decisions.
"This discussion comes at a time when the election date has been proclaimed and political campaigns
have officially started. There is consensus the world over that journalism which often framed as the
“Fourth Estate” plays a critical role during elections as it does in nation building because of its capacity
to inform as well as shape opinions of the world and voters. The media provide platforms for
contestants and citizens to engage in public debate. The media also are expected to provide adequate
information about parties, policies, candidates and the election process itself in order to for voters to
make informed choices, she said.
She further highlighted how the Second Republic had made tremendous progress in creating a
conducive media landscape for both the media practitioners and consumers of information with the
country now registering over 190 media houses, six national radio stations and 14 community radio
"In the past, Government’s relationship with the media was marked by mistrust and hostility especially
due to the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The media felt
this piece of legislation was infringing on its operations. Now AIIPA is history.
“Following the assumption of office of the Second Republic in 2018 and through stakeholder
consultative approach the media environment has improved tremendously. To give you an idea of the
density of the space, currently in Zimbabwe there are 192 registered media houses and 73 of these are
more active than others, there are 6 national radio stations of which 4 are public and two are private.
There are also 4 public broadcasting TV channels and 6 private TV channels. In addition there are two
international content distributors in the mix," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the transformation in the media environment bridged the urban-rural divide
in access to information especially ahead of the harmonized polls enabling the electorates to get access
on election information, moreso, in the languages that they understood.

"This is no mean feat as it bridges the information gap between the urban and rural folk, especially now
as the nation prepares to conduct the 2023 general elections. The opening up of airwaves will ensure
that communities in remote parts of the country have access to public information related to elections.
This sits well with Government’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind," she added.

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